Designers / Industry

Kendra Scott Tells All Her Messy, Beautiful Stories In New Memoir


In her new book, Born to Shine, Kendra Scott has created a tell-all tale that gives her reader access to every part of her life—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But sharing these stories in all of their less-than-pretty details is done in service of giving her fans and fellow jewelry designers hope that even through the worst times something good can happen, Scott says.

The book, which comes out Sept. 20, has a subtitle of Do Good, Find Your Joy, and Build a Life You Love, and that sums up much of what Scott wants to share in her story. She describes the book as both an anniversary gift—this year marks 20 years since she founded her company—and a biography of sorts, the Texas-based designer tells JCK in an email interview.

Scott is on a short book tour that has already had three sold-out dates and likely more to come. The mother of three is one of the most recognizable jewelry designers in the United States—yet her personal brand is low-key and unabashedly optimistic. The book’s cover is an unmistakable yellow, a color that Scott says represents her sunny outlook and, above all, hope.

Kendra Scott in store
Over the past 20 years, Kendra Scott has grown her business from a room in her house to a billion-dollar brand, packaging her work in a sunny yellow box to highlight her personal optimism. Her company now has more than 3,000 employees across 120-plus stores. 

“This book is part memoir and love letter to those who helped me along the way in creating Kendra Scott the brand. I talk about it all—my childhood, building the brand, motherhood, marriage, divorce—all of it shaping me into the woman I am today,” Scott tells JCK. “Through my stories, I hope readers are inspired to find their purpose, be a light to those around them, and do good.

“No matter what you’ve been through or where you come from, it’s my belief that everyone has immense and innate value, and that our job is not only to shine ourselves, but to find the shine in others too,” Scott says.

Her brand resonated with customers from the start because of its “honest and genuine connection,” Scott says. In the book, she tells stories of her failures—like opening a hat store before she started making jewelry as a new mom. Her personal motto, Scott says, focuses on this: “Give what you can, when you can, and know that all of it counts, all of it matters.”

“I want our customers to know the story of our brand and why we have our core pillars of family, fashion, and philanthropy,” Scott says, noting that in 2021 alone, Kendra Scott partnered with more than 10,000 local causes and organizations through the Kendra Gives Back program virtually and in person and donated more than 30,000 pieces of jewelry to organizations to support their fundraising.

Kendra Scott and sons
Kendra Scott counts her three sons, Cade, Beck, and Grey (from left) as her favorite people and counts motherhood as one of her greatest accomplishments. Her men’s jewelry brand, Scott Bros., is named after them. 

Much of her story focuses on her early years, including her parents’ divorce, the bullying she experienced throughout her childhood, and how she learned to stand firm in her beliefs and values, especially when it came to her own design and fashion choices. Some of the book’s strongest stories are those of her early jewelry years, cramming cribs and babies into the same room where she was with her coworkers, who are like family to her, Scott says.

Plus, she spent many of her formative years in the Midwest, which could explain how someone so humble also could operate a billion-dollar jewelry business. Since starting the business with $500 and when her first son was three months old in 2002, Kendra Scott now has more than 3,000 employees and more than 120 stand-alone stores. Plus, she’s appeared on Shark Tank, was the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and was introduced into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2019.

Scott stepped down from her role as president of Kendra Scott and now serves as the company’s founder, lead designer, and executive chairwoman.

“Growing up in small-town Wisconsin I have so many wonderful memories—but with those wonderful memories I also had my fair share of obstacles and things I had to work through. Middle school is no glamorous time for anyone—we are all trying to fit in and find out who we are,” Scott says. “One of my biggest inspirations during that hard time period was my Aunt Jo, who worked in the fashion industry. My love for fashion was born while we watched slideshows of the runways with her in her basement, and she’d even challenge me to pick out the trends. She was the first one who made me fall in love with fashion, and it all started in the little town of Kenosha.

“It was through the emotional and vulnerable moments that I gained the most experience and learned my most valuable lessons. These moments shaped me into the mother and the business owner I am today,” Scott says. “Sharing these lessons and experiences with my audience gives them a closer look at the beautiful, and sometimes messy, story of how my business was born.”

Top: Kendra Scott’s new memoir, Born to Shine, comes out Sept. 20 and tells the “beautiful and sometimes messy” story of her life from the Midwest to Austin, Texas, where she still lives and helps run her billion-dollar jewelry brand (photos courtesy of Hachette Book Group). 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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